Sukanya Mani

Submitted Works

  • <p>The Beside Between Beyond Project</p> <p>A large paper installation with smaller sections of paper artwork beneath it. The majority of the paper is white with some pops of purple, yellow, orange, blue, and black. Each artwork displays the paper in different patterns, shapes, and designs like butterflies, people and abstract shapes. Above the sections a long, white, intricately cut out sheet of paper twists and drapes from left to right. </p>
  • <p>This Time It Will Be Different - Mani</p> <p>Pieces of white paper cut into arrow shapes, the insides of the arrows intricately cut to reveal various circles, some overlapping, and wavy lines. The arrows are hanging by string and pointed in different directions.</p>
  • <p>Wweight of Shadows</p> <p>Four paper artworks in clear laminated squares. The first artwork has faces of people with long hair in purple paper, arranged in different directions sideways. The second artwork has intricately cut white paper shaped into butterflies and gold paper cut into a plant with many leaves. The third piece is a blue strip with small round cutouts with two blue footprints to the left of it and abstract lines to the right. The final artwork is a white rectangle piece of paper with organic shape cutouts and a line with fuller swirls in the middle. There are red lines throughout the piece.</p>
  • <p>Try to Get Closer - Mani</p> <p>An installation with three different paper artworks. The piece on the far left is a long piece of white paper, twisting around and overlapping itself. The paper has intricate cutouts of different shapes. The piece in the middle resembles a large white butterfly. The middle of the insect is mostly cut into small organic shapes that lead into the wings which have less cutouts. The piece to the right is made of black paper formed into organic, twisting shapes. The paper is intricately cut with slits and smaller organic shapes throughout the pieces, similar to stripes.</p>

Sukanya Mani, Missouri, USA Mixed Media Sculpture

Beside Between Beyond

I was born in India and emigrated to the US in 1998. I remember not having a work permit or financial independence for the first couple of years after I arrived here. When the pandemic hit, I thought of individuals experiencing domestic violence within immigrant and refugee homes, so I decided to use my artistic skills to increase awareness. “Beside Between Beyond” is a multipart artistic journey of learning and documentation.

As a part of the South Asian immigrant community, I have noticed the lack of resources for vulnerable women within immigrant and refugee communities. The COVID-19 pandemic compounded the vulnerability of these individuals who were already geographically isolated and bound within a culture that does not accept broken marriages.

Weight of Shadows

When I began working on “Beside Between Beyond,” I started to collect donated bangles, a cultural symbol of womanhood and fertility in South Asian culture. Through this process, I engaged with community members through dialogue about creating a safe space for all of us - a space where domestic violence victims and survivors can tell their stories without the fear of judgment.

Try to Get Closer

Throughout “Beside Between Beyond,” I created intricate paper cuts sandwiched between plexiglass frames, each using visa and refugee applications as base material to highlight immigrant survivors. The cutting and removal of these visa papers is a very violent act, but through this act of destruction I have discovered the transformative idea of creation.

This Time It Will Be Different

“This Time It Will Be Different" is a suspended sculpture that explores our understanding of the concept of time. I was inspired by three facets of time: physiological time, philosophical time, and cosmological time. “This Time” features nine arrow forms composed of painted hand-cut Tyvek paper suspended by fishing wire. The arrows move in and out of focus as viewers walk by. I wanted to define a sculptural form that resonated with both a structured and a chaotic sensibility.


In 2021, I read the statement of an individual going through domestic violence. She mentioned that she was not able to talk to her community for fear of becoming an object of gossip. This statement made me think about how to use awareness and art as a catalyst to bring about societal change.

Edge of Ignorance

I was fortunate to have a supportive spouse to help navigate these difficult times. This got me thinking about vulnerable people who are put into these circumstances with an abusive partner, which motivated me to research support systems to assist these individuals. In 2020, I started the process of collecting and collating data about domestic violence, which would eventually be transformed into visual art through intricate paper cuts, found object installations, and interactive technology.

Additional Work

  • <p>Five intricately cut pieces of paper overlapping each other. The paper is cut into circles of varying sizes and colors; three white, one pink, and one red. Within the circles are different patterns of geometric and organic shapes.</p>
  • <p>Pieces of black and gray paper formed into organic, twisting shapes. The paper is intricately cut with slits and smaller organic shapes throughout the pieces, similar to stripes. Some of the pieces are circular and rounded while others are longer. The shadow of the pieces are reflected onto the surface.</p>